Taiwanese identity: The initiative to change the passport design began on July 22 after Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan passed a resolution to emphasize “Taiwan” over “China” on the name of the country’s airline and passport, according to Taiwan News.
The current passport bears its official name “Republic of China” and “Taiwan passport” in both English and Chinese.
The resolution also aims to ensure the Mandarin and English words for “Taiwan” (台灣) on the passport cover is emphasized to “safeguard the dignity” of the Taiwanese people.
In April, pro-independence politician Chen Po-wei explained that border agents reportedly tend to confuse Taiwanese passport holders with citizens of China, Taiwan News reports.
The New Power Party (NPP) launched a contest soon after to gather design submissions from the public following guidelines by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Divided into two groups — the International Standards Group and the Creative Group — the competition was flooded with entries incorporating elements that are emblematic of Taiwan.
Submitted designs included images depicting popular landmarks such as the Taipei 101; maps of Taiwan proper; the Presidential Office Building; popular dishes such as braised pork over rice, bubble tea; and animals, including the Formosan swallowtails, Yushan, the Formosan black bear, the Formosan sika deer, the Taiwan blue pheasant, the Taiwan blue magpie, whales and a cat.
So many of the other options are just really nice minimal designs.
The finalists: NPP’s passport design competition attracted hundreds of submissions, which were trimmed down to just 127 finalists by National Chengchi University Institute of Taiwanese Literature Professor Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明) and five other judges. All designs can be viewed in an online gallery, according to Quartz.
The five criteria for the initial selection are “design philosophy, aesthetics, innovation, the reflection of Taiwanese society, and imaginativeness.”
A shortlist of proposed passport designs have since been made available on a dedicated website for public voting.
According to NPP Chairman Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智), the online vote would allow public discussions on which passport cover design would best portray the image of Taiwan to the international community.
As of this writing, “Butterfly of Formosa,” leads the finalists with the most votes for its clever use of a map of Taiwan as the wing of a butterfly.
“The Diverse Land,” which uses numerous colorful dots to represent Taiwan’s island, comes in at the second place.
“Guardian God” takes the third spot with a simple dark cover and a map of Taiwan highlighting its mountains.
“520 TAIWAN,” at number four, incorporates national symbols such as orchids, the Formosan black bear, the Formosan sika deer and the Taiwan blue pheasant.
This one is the third most popular and it’s just a simple map of Taiwan. Notably the “w” in the text-form “Taiwan” is intended to look like a person with outstretched hands to celebrate human rights. pic.twitter.com/ihe0TwcKd2
Voting ends on August 30 and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held in September. The designs will be featured in an exhibit that will run from Sept. 3-7 at the Olympus Plaza Taipei.
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